Judgment of all the countries (Joel 3:2-3:3)

“I will gather

All the nations.

I will bring them down

To the valley of Jehoshaphat.

I will enter

Into judgment

With them there.

On account of my people,

On account of my heritage,

Israel,

Because they have scattered them

Among the nations.

They have divided

My land.

They have cast lots

For my people.

They have traded boys

For prostitutes.

They have sold girls

For wine.

They have drunk it down.”

Yahweh, via Joel, said that he was going to gather all the countries of the world together in the valley of Jehoshaphat. That would have to be a big place. Actually, they were dealing with the known world of the near East at that time. Jehoshaphat means the valley of decision or the Lord judges. This was probably some place close to Jerusalem, perhaps the Kidron valley. Yahweh was going to judge these countries on what they had done to his people, his heritage, Israel. They had scattered the Israelites among the various countries. They had divided the land of Israel. They had gambled over his people, trading boys for prostitutes and selling girls for wine to get drunk on. Yahweh was going to lay down his judgment on them.

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Yahweh sends abundant rain (Joel 2:23-2:24)

“O children of Zion!

Be glad!

Rejoice in Yahweh!

Your God!

He has given

The early rain

For your vindication.

He has poured down

For you

Abundant rain,

The early,

As well as the latter rain,

As before.

The threshing floors

Shall be full of grain.

The vats shall overflow

With wine.

The vats shall overflow

With oil.”

Joel reminded the children of Zion that they should rejoice and be glad in Yahweh, their God, because he has given them plenty of rain, both the early and later rain, just like before the locust attack. Thus, the threshing floors would be full of grain. The vats or containers for the wine and the oil from the vines and trees would be overflowing.

Yahweh was going to provide for them (Joel 2:19-2:19)

“In response to his people,

Yahweh said.

‘I am sending you

Grain,

Wine,

Oil.

You will be satisfied.

I will no more make you

A mockery

Among the nations.’”

Joel said that Yahweh responded to his people. Yahweh was going to send them grain, wine, and oil, so that they would be satisfied. They would no longer be a mockery among the various countries.

Mourn for your lost fields (Joel 1:8-1:10)

“Lament!

Like a virgin

Dressed in sackcloth

For the husband

Of her youth!

The grain offering,

The drink offering,

Are cut off

From the house

Of Yahweh.

The priests mourn.

The ministers of Yahweh

Mourn.

The fields are devastated.

The ground mourns.

The grain is destroyed.

The wine dries up.

The oil fails.”

The people should go into mourning. They should lament like a virgin who had lost the husband of her youth, dressed in sackcloth. There was not going to be any grain or drink offerings in the house of Yahweh. The priests and the ministers should mourn because the fields were devastated. The ground itself mourned because the grain was destroyed. The wine had dried up. The oil had failed. There was good reason to go into mourning.

The useless sacrifices (Hos 9:4-9:4)

“They shall not pour

Drink offerings

Of wine

To Yahweh.

Their sacrifices

Shall not please him.

Such sacrifices shall be

Like mourners’ bread.

All who eat of it

Shall be defiled.

Their bread

Shall be

For their hunger only.

It shall not come

To the house

Of Yahweh.”

Hosea told them that in their captivity, they will not be able to pour out drink offerings of wine to Yahweh. Their sacrifices would not please God. These sacrifices would be like the defiled bread of mourners who have had contact with the dead. The only reason to eat this bread would be because they were hungry. There will be no more symbolic bread, since they will no longer have contact with the house of Yahweh.

The sorrow of the exile (Hos 9:1-9:3)

“Do not rejoice!

O Israel!

Do not exult

As other nations do!

You have played

The prostitute!

You departed from

Your God!

You have loved

A prostitute’s pay

On all the threshing floors.

Threshing floor

With wine vat

Shall not feed them.

The new wine

Shall fail them.

They shall not remain

In the land of Yahweh.

But Ephraim shall return

To Egypt.

They shall eat

Unclean food

In Assyria.”

Hosea told the people of Israel, perhaps at a harvest festival, that they would no longer rejoice and exalt like other countries. They had prostituted themselves. They had departed from their God. They had accepted the prostitute’s pay on the threshing floor. No longer would grain and wine feed them, as the new wine would fail. They were not going to remain in the land of Yahweh. They would be sent to Egypt and Assyria, where they would eat unclean food.

They have turned against God (Hos 7:14-7:16)

“They do not cry to me

From the heart.

But they wail

Upon their beds.

They gash themselves

For grain,

For wine.

They rebel against me.

I trained them.

I strengthened

Their arms.

Yet they devise evil

Against me.

They turn to Baal,

A useless unprofitable god.

They have become

Like a defective bow.

Their officials

Shall fall

By the sword,

Because of the rage

Of their tongues.

So much for babbling

In the land of Egypt.”

The Israelites were not crying out to Yahweh from their hearts. Instead they were weeping and wailing in their own beds. They gashed themselves that had been forbidden by the law of Moses, hoping for grain and wine. They had rebelled against Yahweh. Yet it was Yahweh who had trained them and strengthened their arms. However, they continually devised evil against Yahweh, turning to the useless Baal gods. They had become defective bows that could not shoot arrows. Thus, their officials would fall by the sword. Their raging tongues sent them babbling to the Egyptians.